“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.”
“The wound is the place where the light enters you.”
“God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.”
“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”
“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain and not thunder that grows flowers.”
“The very center of your heart is where life begins – the most beautiful place on earth.”
“This is a subtle truth, whatever you love, you are.”
One beloved soul, almost 900 years ago, gave his students these jewels of wisdom and love: Rumi, (1207-1273). Wisdom and love are truly timeless.
I once read that the most popular poet in the United States is this humble Turkish teacher from the 13th century.
We can hardly plumb the depths of Jelaluddin Rumi’s exquisite understanding of the nature of life, but Coleman Barks in his 409-page masterpiece translation, “The Essential Rumi,” does attempt to give us a comprehensive understanding of the combined tenderness and astonishing perception of Rumi.
Even if you’ve not studied the exuberant whirling dervishes of the Sufi spiritual path, you probably know a bit about Rumi. His quotes can be found on greeting cards, social media posts, and even billboards.
His influence has touched people of every strata and philosophical path, from the Eastern World to the West. Though Rumi practiced Sufism, he believed that the “religion of Love” was the path for every soul seeking to find fulfillment in this life. His chief desire was to be a spokesperson and teacher and ambassador for the healing power of love and acceptance.
Long before Schweitzer or Gandhi compelled all who would listen in the 20th century to have reverence for all life, that was a message that Rumi left with his students. He wanted to impress upon his reader that their life was deeply sacred and that the lives of others were equally so. A needed message it seems in all places and times. “…Every being is a jar full of delight, be a connoisseur,” he wrote; and then he cautioned, “but taste with caution.”
Rumi is a bottomless well of joy. If that’s what you’re needing, then I highly recommend Coleman Barks, “The Essential Rumi.”
By Deana Vassar, Awakenings Health.